ruth johnson

Politics & Government
7:25 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Commentary: Citizenship and voting

Three days ago, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ruled that Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had to stop asking voters to check a box reaffirming they are a U.S. citizen before casting a ballot at their polling place during next month’s election.

His ruling was about as surprising as snow in January, and I have to confess that I have a hard time understanding where the secretary of state is coming from. This was something the governor vetoed and her own legal staff told her to keep off absentee ballots.

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Election 2012
8:34 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Federal judge orders removal of citizenship checkbox on Michigan ballot

Ruth Johnson has faced criticism over the citizenship question on Michigan ballots this year.
user jdurham MorgueFile.com

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has told Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to remove citizenship check-off boxes from November ballot applications.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman made the ruling Friday during a hearing in Detroit. A written decision is expected Tuesday.

Borman told Johnson the boxes that ask Michigan voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship slows the voting process, is confusing and is a burden on the right to vote.

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Politics & Government
7:09 am
Fri October 5, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

Michigan Secretary of State in court today over citizenship checkbox

"Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court today to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered onto November ballot applications. Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer. A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters. Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots," Jake Neher reports.

Ambassador bridge owners say new bridge not economically feasible

"Opponents of a new bridge between the U.S. and Canada say Michigan would lose about $325 million in taxes if the project goes ahead. The owners of the Ambassador bridge commissioned a study they say shows there's no need for a new bridge. Canada would pay for construction of the bridge and recoup its investment from future tolls," Rina Miller reports.

Pilot program to keep kids at home, not in foster care

"The state of Michigan is going to try a new approach to keep at-risk children out of the state’s foster care system. A federal waiver will allow the state to use grant dollars to start a pilot program that will try to keep children under five years old with their families rather than place them in foster homes. Steve Yager is the director of the Department of Human Services’ Children Services Administration. He says they want to avoid putting very young children through the ‘trauma’ of  being placed in foster homes. The pilot program will start next year in Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Macomb counties. There are currently 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system," Steve Carmody reports.

Election 2012
4:54 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Federal judge orders Ruth Johnson to defend citizenship checkbox in court

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court Friday to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered on November ballot applications.

Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer.

A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters.

Andrew Nickelhoff, an attorney for the coalition against the checkbox, questions its legitimacy.  

“We know from experience from the August primary and from information we’ve received afterward that many voters don’t think it’s appropriate, and many clerks who are administering these elections don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said.

The Secretary of State had filed a motion asking to have her election director speak on her behalf during the hearing.

The judge denied the request today, saying she had to be present in the courtroom.

Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots.

Politics & Government
12:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Citizenship box on Michigan ballot goes to court

file photo
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has been ordered to court as critics try to stop the use of a citizen check-off box on the November 6th ballot.

Detroit federal Judge Paul Borman has set a hearing for Friday. A coalition of civil rights groups and labor unions is asking Borman to issue an injunction.

12:16 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Update on the voter citizenship question; confusion continues

Lead in text: 
A hearing on the ACLU's lawsuit over Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's requirement to have a citizenship checkbox on all ballots is expected within the next week. Several county clerks around the state are refusing to follow through with the requirement. Detroit election workers were instructed to black out the box.
"What we're saying is the Secretary of State may be the chief election official, but she's not above the law." - ACLU lawyer Michael Steinberg DETROIT, MI -- Decisions by several local officials to defy Michigan's Secretary of State and exclude a citizenship question from November ballot applications bolster a federal lawsuit against the check box, a top ACLU lawyer said Wednesday evening.
5:38 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Little evidence found of voter fraud

Lead in text: 
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently broke down how she came up with her numbers of illegal non-citizen voters on our show "Stateside with Cynthia Canty." She estimated that as many as 4,000 non-citizens are on state voter rolls. The AP reports that Johnson's figures have not been verified.
Democrats say the searches waste time and, worse, could disenfranchise eligible voters who are swept up in the checks. "I find it offensive that I'm being required to do more than any other citizen to prove that I can vote," said Samantha Meiring, 37, a Colorado voter and South African immigrant who became a U.S.
Politics & Government
3:52 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Mobile Secretary of State office making 5 SE Michigan stops

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson
Credit MI SOS

A mobile Secretary of State office is stopping at 5 Southeast Michigan colleges and universities this week.

It’s part of an ongoing effort by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to make sure voters are registered for upcoming elections.

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Stateside on the Radio
6:04 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Stateside for Thursday, September 20, 2012

On today's show we talk with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton updates on CAW negotiations. We talk with University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman about her upcoming trip to Brazil. We get an update on Michigan wines and the Detroit Film Festival. We talk with Rick Devos about ArtPrize. We visit Ypsilanti and tour "Pianos around Town.

Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Political Roundup: Citizenship verification box?

League of Women Voters

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is pushing for a citizenship verification box on the application for the November ballot. She says there could be an estimated 4,000 non-citizens registered to vote in Michigan. 

A lawsuit has been brought to block the question from the ballot and some county clerks are refusing to put the citizenship question to voters.

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Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Stateside: Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks 'checkbox' politics

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

We are now 47 days away from the November general election.

Here in Michigan, the political races have some competition in the headlines with "the box": the box that you're supposed to tick off to declare that, yes, you are an American citizen.

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Election 2012
1:27 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Nearly 4,000 Michigan voters are not U.S. Citizens says Secretary of State Johnson

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson released a statement claiming nearly 4,000 registered voters in Michigan are not U.S. citizens.
michigan.gov

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson released a statement claiming as many as 4,000 registered voters in Michigan are not U.S. citizens. David Eggert of Mlive has the story:

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Politics & Government
8:27 am
Wed September 19, 2012

The week in Michigan politics

cncphotos flickr

This week Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry talked about the lawsuit filed against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. The lawsuit challenges Johnson’s instruction that voters who show up on Election Day should be asked whether they are US citizens. Shockley and Lessenberry also talked about Governor Rick Snyder's trade mission to China.

morning news roundup
7:11 am
Tue September 18, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Secretary of State being sued over citizenship question

"A coalition of unions, voters, county clerks and civil rights groups is suing Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in federal court. The lawsuit challenges Johnson’s instruction that voters who show up on Election Day should be asked whether they are US citizens. But no one can legally be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box. The lawsuit was filed yesterday in US District Court in Detroit. Johnson’s office would not comment specifically on the lawsuit. But she has said the question is simply meant to remind people that only U-S citizens can vote in elections," Rick Pluta reports.

Medicaid tax falls $130-million short of projections

"The state could lose up to $260-million in federal funding for Medicaid this year. That's because of lower-than-expected revenues from Michigan's new one-percent tax on health insurance claims, which started in January. The tax will bring in $130-million less than originally projected for the current fiscal year. That means Michigan will have less money to qualify for federal matching dollars," Jake Neher reports.

CAW extends contracts with GM and Chrysler

The AP reports the Canadian Auto workers union says it has agreed to extend its current contracts with General Motors and Chrysler. Negotiations on new deals continue,

The union had set a midnight strike deadline. But President Ken Lewenza said talks would go past the deadline if there was progress. Earlier Monday the C-A-W reached a 4 -year deal with Ford that freezes pay and cuts wages for new hires. The union wants the deal to be the template for contracts with G-M and Chrysler. A CAW spokeswoman wouldn't say how long the contracts will be extended.

Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Some county clerks in Michigan sue over citizenship question

Voting booth
suttonhoo.blogspot.com

Update 4:39 p.m.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is being sued for ordering a citizenship question onto forms handed to voters at their local precincts. It asks people to check a box affirming their U.S. citizenship. But no one can legally be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.
    
Jocelyn Benson directs the Michigan Center for Election Law, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She said Secretary of State Johnson is acting outside the realm of her authority.

"And it's not going to prevent non-citizens from voting, but it is something that will create and has created some confusion in our elections process," said Benson.

The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Johnson's office would not comment specifically on the lawsuit. But she has said the question is simply meant to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote in elections.

3:06 p.m.

Some county clerks are suing the state over boxes on voter forms that ask people whether they are citizens.

The lawsuit will say that Secretary of State Ruth Johnson does not have the authority on her own to put the boxes on election forms. A voter cannot be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have required voter forms to include a citizenship question.

(we'll update this post - check back)

Politics & Government
8:55 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Election groups up the ante in battle over "citizenship checkbox"

Ruth Johnson
MI SOS

The Michigan Election Coalition has asked Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to remove the “citizenship checkbox” from ballot applications statewide.

But so far, Johnson says she has no intention of doing that.

The question—asking voters to affirm their US citizenship before voting—confused and outraged some voters in the August primary.

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Politics & Government
7:02 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Reports of confusion, frustration over voter ID law after Tuesday primary

Some Michigan voters were wrongly turned away from the polls last Tuesday after refusing to affirm their US citizenship.

But some other voters—and an elections watchdog group—say they also encountered problems with misguided enforcement of the state’s voter ID law.

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Election
2:03 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Michigan sued over late absentee ballots for primary

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
Ruth Johnson for Secretary of State

The federal government is suing the state of Michigan over the failure of some local governments to get absentee ballots delivered in a timely way to members of the armed forces, reports the Associated Press.

The U.S. Justice Department asked a Grand Rapids federal judge today to order some local governments to count absentee ballots received after the Aug. 7 primary election.

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Politics & Government
3:44 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Michigan will ask for immigration records as part of purge of voter rolls

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Secretary of State will soon ask again for access to immigration records.

The intent is to find non-American citizens who may have “inadvertently” registered to vote in Michigan.

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Commentary
10:00 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Commentary: Absentees for All

The other day, I told my significant other she should plan to be out of town on election day. “Was it something I said?" she asked. Well, no. It’s the way election law works in Michigan. We may all face a ballot that is as long as the proverbial bed sheet.

Not only are there a vast number of candidates and races, we could be asked to decide on four, eight, possibly 11 different complicated ballot proposals. Do you know what would happen if every voter stayed in the booth till she or he managed to figure all this out? We’d all still be in line in four years.

Naturally, nobody does that. So people either skip the proposals or take uninformed guesses. In the case of judicial candidates, too many of us go for familiar or judicial-sounding names, which is why there are a lot of judges named Kelly.

We also, oddly enough, elect trustees of our three biggest universities, and what’s even more bizarre, elect them on a partisan basis. Since almost nobody has ever heard of any of these folks, the winners tend to be of the party that wins the top of the ticket.

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